Panagiotis Vafeidis, Project Manager, Chamber of Achaia, Greece.

1. Why did you join the Osiris activities?

I joined the OSIRIS activities after an  invitation from the Computer Technology Institute and Press Diophantus to the Chamber of Achaia. The OSIRIS project focuses on Open and Social Innovation which is of interest for the Chamber, as well as the Innovation Loop Good Practice, since it involves Public-Private innovation and development processes.

In the region of Western Greece the innovation ecosystem is currently formulating, but it still needs support and a solid framework to become more mature and produce results. Since the Chamber is in close collaboration with all policy making actors of the area, the Innovation Loop seems like a good practice to elaborate upon, adjust it to local context and form a local alliance to put it into action.

2. What did you learn from participating?

I had the chance to learn about the population gap between rural and urban areas in the Region of Vasterbotten (Sweden) and how the innovation process hopes to attract new inhabitants and trigger entrepreneurship in the area, and to see it in practice through the study visit to the University of Umea and its Fab Lab as well as the innovation event Meeting Point Lycksele. Similarly, I had the chance to be informed about the situation in the Region of Ostrobothnia (Finland) and the respective policies put in place.

3. How can you transfer this knowledge to your own work?

In the Region of Western Greece we organize the Patras Innovation Quest (PatrasIQ which is an innovation transfer exhibition at regional level supported by 3-helix actors i.e. 1 Region, 3 Academic Institutes and the Chamber of Achaia, and recently it has been placed under the auspices of 2 Greek Ministries. Our aim is to utilize the lessons learned during the study visits in Sweden, and establish an annual process similar to the Innovation Loop that will culminate in the PatrasIQ exhibition.

4. Did you get new useful contacts for your own work?

The partners of OSIRIS project as well as the people running the Innovation Loop in Vasterbotten are contacts that we hope will prove useful for future collaboration. Their Regions are top in terms of innovation, open data and other themes, and therefore their policies are of particular interest for us. Also, the rest of the stakeholders that participated in the study visit all had a lot to offer during the peer review workshops and will facilitate knowledge transfer among our regions.

5. Given the lessons learned – how do you see that the innovation system in your own region can be improved? If possible, give a few concrete examples.

As mentioned earlier, the innovation ecosystem in Western Greece is at it´s initial steps. Start-ups founded by our academic institute’s graduates are starting to emerge in regional and national markets and some of them are also setting foot on international markets. However, their number is small, indicating that there is still need for their support. It has been observed that there is a lack of capable innovation managers to mentor them and support them to reach a higher level. The OSIRIS project through it´s knowledge transfer activities can help us move in this direction, since people acting as innovation agents at key positions of regional actors can acquire useful insight of other innovation systems.